Healthier Cities and Communities Hub
Seed Grant / Pilot Project
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
November 14, 2014
The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) of the University of Toronto, Wellesley Institute and Toronto Public Health issue this Seed Grant / Pilot Project Request for Proposals. The grants will support the bringing together of community, public sector, and university collaborators to undertake equity-oriented solutions-focussed research aimed at protecting and enhancing wellbeing in cities and communities. Final awards of funding will be contingent on finalization of matching fund agreements between the above-mentioned partner organizations.
The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH), a Faculty of the University of Toronto, is a regional and global leader in public health education, research and service, with the largest concentrations of academic population and public health researchers in Canada, with backgrounds spanning the humanities, social and behavioural sciences, and physical and life sciences. Wellesley Institute is a research and policy institute that works to drive policy, community and social changes that will improve the health of all who live in the Greater Toronto area Toronto Public Health is committed to reducing health inequity and improving the health of the whole population through championing healthy public policy, leading innovation in public health practice and delivering services that meet the needs of Torontoʼs diverse communities.
BACKGROUND ON THE HEALTHIER CITIES AND COMMUNITIES HUB
How to achieve Healthy Cities and Communities is a shared challenge and overlapping interest of faculty and communities across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Both Toronto Public Health and Wellesley Institute have a long history of working with Toronto communities to improve health equities. To renew this effort, and in alignment with its institutional goals, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto envisaged the Healthier Cities and Communities Hub to coordinate innovative research, shared learning and community engagement (http://healthiercitiescommunities.com). The three partners are all part of this Hub.
The hub encompasses education, research, knowledge exchange, and service activities focused on informing, designing and evaluating solutions for complex urban problems impacting population health. We seek to consolidate and build on considerable initiatives on healthy communities already underway in Toronto, provincially and nationally.
Our vision is an effective hub for university-community collaborations aimed at building healthier cities and communities through solutions-focused research. Our mission is to catalyze and foster partner-based, solutions-focused research, education and knowledge exchange to measurably improve urban and community health locally and beyond. Healthier Cities and Communities initiatives will be “solutions-focused”; this requires going beyond describing health inequities and determinants with new efforts to undertake research that generates evidence on interventions to improve health. Solutions-focused research targets proximal and ʻupstreamʼ macro-social drivers of health inequity, and promising levers of change.
At this stage of hub development, we are focusing on three theme areas:
Resilient Cities, Built Environment and Place Based Interventions.
Resilient Cities: Cities face unparalleled challenges in the coming decade(s) in terms of emerging threats to health equity (climate change, environmental degradation, rising inequality, resource depletion, economic instability), but also significant new opportunities by virtue of the interconnectedness of individuals, organizations, communities and systems that make cities engines of innovation and social change. Resilience can be thought of not only as the capacity to weather coming challenges, to bounce back from adversity, but also to learn from and embrace change and bounce forward into new ways of thinking and doing. Resilience is generally thought to be predicated on diversity, modularity, timely feedback, social capital, innovation, and redundancy.
Built Environment and Health is a determinant of health for billions (we are now a primarily urban species). It is not just about buildings but also urban design issues such as sprawl, walkability, design features promoting sociability and social inclusion, access to services, green space and public transportation. The built environment impacts on health via social segregation, mental health, obesogenic environments, nature deficit, collisions, alcohol availability, food deserts, urban heat island effects, tree canopy, active transportation infrastructure, zoning, emissions controls, etc. Built environments in turn reflect the uniqueness of place (topography, climate, etc), culture, political and economic arrangements, and prevailing social inequities.
Place Based Interventions. Broadly speaking, place based interventions take advantage of location & (provide) local resources to promote positive social change. The particular outcomes or content of the interventions span the full set of social determinants of health (e.g. housing, education, food, (built) environment, etc). Place based interventions i) build on local strengths, ii) are solutions focussed, and iii) ideally evidence based and/or uses evaluation to guide implementation.
SEED GRANT MECHANISM
The Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, Toronto Public Health and Wellesley Institute issues this seed grant / pilot project request for proposals. This unique trisponsorship seed grant competition demonstrates the true collaboration and partnership at the core of the Healthier Cities and Communities Hub. It is anticipated that Seed Grants from $5,000 to $20,000 will be awarded to support partner-based, solutions-focused research pilot projects.
Criteria for seed grant funding:
• lay out a clear, feasible, measurable plan for addressing solutions-focused research
that will generate knowledge on pathways to reduce health inequities in the theme
areas of Built Environment and Health, Resilient Cities, or Place Based
• show innovation and/or potential impact to influence policy and/or practice
• show strong potential to strengthen community-university capacity for solutions-focused
research, education and knowledge exchange
• show strong potential to be an effective and sustainable contributor to efforts of the
Healthier Cities and Communities Hub to achieve its vision and mission
• involve substantive inter-disciplinary collaborations
In addition, we are looking for projects that:
• build a vibrant research interest group that will live beyond the seed grant funding
• lay the foundation for a grant proposal for external funding, result in a publication, or
catalyze the development of a new policy or program
• include partnerships between academic and community and / or policy organizations
(e.g. lead or co-principal investigator from a community or policy organization)
• provide direct training or other education opportunities for students, either involving
students as research assistants or developing educational materials for courses.
Research capacity building opportunities for community partners will also be valued.
Within these requirements, a range of pilot, formative and/or developmental research projects
will be considered, including, but not limited to: feasibility studies, piloting of methodology or
instruments, literature reviews, knowledge exchange and partnership development.
Eligibility and organizational requirements
Research team members can come from any GTA University, community-based organization or policy institute. Any member of a community-based organization, policy institute or GTA University faculty (tenure track or status appointment) is eligible to be Principal Investigator (PI) on a partner-based, solutions focuses research pilot project. Please note that applications MUST include at least one person from a community or policy organization as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator responsible for one or more key aspects of the project design, implementation, analysis and reporting.
In addition, at least one member of the team must hold a current budgetary or status-only faculty appointment in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health; this person shall be held accountable for reporting to the Dean on funded outcomes, outputs and deliverables agreed at the time of award. University students, from DLSPH or another provincially recognized undergraduate or postgraduate level training organization, should be involved in at least one aspect of the project design, implementation, analysis and reporting.
The budget of each project will not include academic investigator salary, existing or core programs, computers, furniture or office equipment but can include direct costs of research such as personnel costs and honorarium, supplies, travel, and other typical costs related to research or knowledge exchange, including costs related to building new or strengthening existing collaborations with key community or policy stakeholders. Where warranted, compensation can be considered for team members from community organizations in cases where their community organization does not fund their participation in the project. Costs for catering should be less than 10% of the budget. All funds requested must be allocated to fund project activities; no indirect costs will be allowed.
It is anticipated that projects will begin at the start of the fiscal year, May 1, 2015. The duration of funding is one year from the date of receipt of funding but if additional time requirements are needed (for example, to build new meaningful collaborations), a no cost extension will be considered upon review of a report that outlines progress and plans for completion. All funds will be managed, expended and accounted according to the accounting requirements of the University of Toronto.
Awards to either faculty or community Principal Investigators from other organizations will be arranged by the Dean’s Office (the Office of the Associate Dean for Research) of the DLSPH according to University of Toronto policies and guidelines and in coordination with the contributing partner organizations. Details of the specific arrangements for fund disbursement under the matching fund agreements between the partner organizations will be provided when awardees are announced.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS
The deadline for applying will be January 26, 2015.
GUIDELINES FOR APPLYING
1 Format: All proposals submitted for this seed grant competition will be limited to a maximum of eight single-spaced pages (with a minimum of 11 font type, 3/4” margins) and must include the following:
A. Abstract – 1/2 page maximum which would allow us to easily summarize funded projects in our communications (this does not count toward the page limit)
B. Title and Specific Aims (1/2 page maximum)
C. Significance; proposals should make clear the relevance of the proposed activities to hub themes; to addressing solutions oriented research that reduce health inequities; and to projects of interest / funding priorities as listed above (1 page maximum)
D. Qualifications of research team (1 page maximum)
E. Research Plan including methods and deliverables should be specified (3 page maximum)
F. Anticipated Impact; proposals should make clear how the proposed work has the potential to lead to grant proposal for external funding, publication, or influencing development of new policy or program; as well as contribution to hub beyond seed grant funding) (1/2 page maximum)
G. Partnership, Inter-disciplinarity, training opportunities, and responsibilities; proposals should outline current or proposed partnership development for inclusion of community & policy stakeholders, as well as students and faculty from a range of disciplinary backgrounds. Provide role descriptions of all members of the team. (1 page maximum)
H. Three potential reviewers (name, title and affiliation, email address and phone) that have no potential conflicts of interest. At least one of these reviewers must be external to the University of Toronto.
In addition to the eight page proposal, each application must include the following appendices:
J. Completed Contact Information Form and Funding Application Form
K. Budget Justification) Indicate the following categories in the budget for direct project costs:
Personnel Costs and Honorarium: The rate(s) of remuneration (including $/hr and total number of hours estimated) should be those normally paid by the host organization to similar categories of staff, including fringe benefits where applicable.
Includes honoraria for research participants
Supplies: The need for supplies should be explained and all amounts based on current actual costs. Please note that funds for supplies are not intended for the purchase of furniture or other office equipment.
Travel: Travel funds requested must be specifically required to carry out the project.
Knowledge Exchange Activities: Itemize all requests for knowledge translation and exchange activities, e.g. publications, pamphlets, presentations. NOTE: Funds may not be used to support faculty salaries or to purchase computers, furniture or office equipment, core or existing program costs. Costs for catering should be less than 10% of the total budget.
L. Ethics Approval or plans and schedule to obtain ethics approval, as applicable.
M. Documentation of other sources of support during the budget period (if applicable)
N. Letter(s) of support from community or policy stakeholders (if applicable)
O. References cited in the proposal
2. Submission: Please submit each proposal electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: HCC Seed Grant Application.
DUE DATE: JANUARY 26, 2015
NOTICE OF AWARD DATE: MARCH 30, 2015
3. Ethics Approval: In alignment with University of Toronto policy, all projects involving human research participants must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Research Ethics and all other appropriate Institutional Review Boards before the full balance of funds awarded can be released. Applications for projects involving human research participants must include either (i) a completed copy of all ethics approvals that would be required to conduct the work proposed, or (ii) a clearly articulated plan and schedule to obtain all relevant ethics approval.
4. The Peer Review Process: Proposals will be distributed for confidential peer review after the submission deadline. Efforts will be made for decisions to be communicated to applicants by e-mail within 8 weeks with the intention of releasing funds as soon as possible after the success of the application has been confirmed (and, where required, ethics approval has been completed).
Projects will be scored using the following factors:
Relevance to themes and significance of specific aims and problems being addressed (Section C) Research Plan (Adequacy, innovativeness, feasibility and scientific merit of research plan) (Section E) Preparation and experience of research team to perform proposed project (Section D) Likelihood of Impact (i.e. leading to grant proposal for external funding, publication or influencing new policy or program; contribution to hub beyond seed grant funding)(Section F) Evidence of meaningful partnership with community or policy organization (Section G) Inclusion of training, education, or employment opportunities for students or research capacity building for community partners (Section G)
5. Reporting Requirements: A progress report must be submitted to the DLSPH
Research Review Committee within 6 months of the project’s initiation date. This report will also be shared with the Wellesley Institute and Toronto Public Health. A final project report must be filed within two months of the end of the project or by April 15, 2016 at the latest. All publications and presentations must recognize the University of Toronto, DLSPH, the Wellesley Institute and Toronto Public Health (specific wording to be provided at the time of award).
6. Contact Information: If you have questions as to whether a project may be suitable, please contact either Blake Poland (email@example.com) or Pat OʼCampo (OʼcampoP@smh.ca). For questions regarding eligibility or application guidelines, please contact Brenda Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org).